In a continuing effort to educate the community on how Retribution Paladins should approach fights that pose specific difficulties to the class, E4AE proudly presents another "Boss Spotlight!" In today's crosshairs: Sapphiron.
Sapphiron is frost wyrm guarding access to Kel'Thuzad's seat of power in Naxxramas. A blue dragon of considerable power in life, Sapphiron was killed and resurrected by Arthas to serve the Lich King. Sapphiron has all the usual abilities of a dragon with some powerful frost magic to boot.
Why are we talking about this boss?
Dragons are a run-of-the-mill encounter in MMO's, even World of Warcraft. The WoW versions of dragons do some or all of the following: a frontal cleave, a tail sweep, a breath ability, and may or may not take flight at some point in the encounter. Sapphiron is no different - he cleaves, he slaps people with his tail, and he will fly around frequently.
So what's different?
In addition to all his dragon-y abilities, our winged guest will also encase people in blocks of ice, blast the entire room with frosty instant-death, deal periodic frost damage to everyone in the room for the entire fight, and summon very powerful blizzards to wreak havoc with your positioning.
Right! So, what are you waiting for? Go poke him with the pointy end.
What to do when facing Sapphiron
First, determine your healers' competency. If they are questionable or relatively weak, you may want to switch to Seal of Command for this fight to make sure you don't kill yourself with kickback. Using your Judgement of Light instead of Judgement of Wisdom may also help out the melee's health, giving the healers a helping hand. Lastly, if it comes to it, make use of your Art of War procs to top yourself and others off. The periodic frost damage combined and the summoned blizzards are a pain to deal with. If your raid's healers are top-notch, continue on cutting yourself for extra damage with Seal of the Martyr / Seal of Blood and judging whatever you like.
Second, always be mindful of your surroundings and position. Sapphiron's cleave is far-reaching - if you are anywhere near his frontal cone, you will get cleaved and you will get one-shot. Likewise, if you're anywhere near his rear cone you will get tail-slapped and you will end up way out of range of the boss and your healers for a bit. Stay between his front and hind legs at all times.
The blizzards cause additional problems for positioning. They wander around the room and deal considerable damage coupled with a movement slowing effect. If a blizzard approaches your position, run through Sapphiron to his other flank. If you do so, you can continue DPS'ing uninterrupted. Watch your health while you're on the other side, you may be momentarily out of healing range. When the blizzard passes your original location, swap back and resume normal functioning. Don't stand in the blizzard, it's generally considered a Bad Thing. It's not quite the Super Bowl of not standing in things, as Gragnarth dubbed Illidari Council (thanks WoW Insider for reminding me of that wonderful forum post), but you definitely need to keep an eye on what's going on around you.
When Sapphiron takes to the air, move out of melee range. Anyone standing near his take-off point will be knocked back after a few seconds. When repositioning, do not stand too near to any of your fellow raiders. The wyrm will shoot two frostbolts at random raid members that will encase them in ice blocks for several seconds, and anyone standing near the targets will take additional frost damage. Once your friends are thoroughly frozen, position yourself behind the ice block, using the raider-cube to shield yourself from Sapphiron's line of sight. Sapphiron will "deep breath" and insta-kill anyone in the room that's not hiding behind or encased in ice. Again, watch your health, and if necessary, throw some heals around. When he's done trying to annihilate you from the air, he'll land in the middle of the room and resume thrashing your tank. Stay away from the head and tail and get back in there.
Rinse, and repeat.
A note on cooldowns - Sapphiron is on the ground for 45 seconds at a time, and less than that in the air. You will likely be able to use your Avenging Wrath every other ground phase. If you, like me, are an engineer and have Hyperspeed Accelerators on your gloves, you can use them every ground phase and still stack them with your wings.
Until next time, this has been another edition of E4AE Boss Spotlight, with your host, Josh!